Quinton Coples: Will 2015 be his breakout year?
Could 2015 finally be a breakout year for linebacker Quinton Coples? As training camp approaches and the regular season is just a few months away, cuts will be made to minimize the roster to it’s maximum capacity of 53. One player that is assured a guaranteed spot on the 53-man roster is linebacker Quinton Coples.
Coples, a former first-round draft pick in 2012 by the Jets, hasn’t lived up to his potential since being drafted. The 25 year-old outside linebacker has just two years left on his rookie contract after the Jets elected to pick up his fifth-year option.
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But with two-years left, is that enough time for Coples to unleash his first round potential? With a brand new coaching staff and front office, Coples will need to channel his inner NFL mentality soon.
Looking back at last season, if Coples wasn’t a former first round selection, his performance in the 2014 season would have been considered fairly well. Coples has his highs and lows as he starts out hot and finishes weak or vice versa. Coples finished last year with 35 tackles, a career high 6.5 sacks and one forced fumble.
Since drafting Sheldon Richardson, Coples was moved to outside linebacker but never showed signs of settling in, his best performance arguably was when Muhammad Wilkerson went down with an injury and he filled in at defensive end. With rookie Leonard Williams most likely taking over defensive end for Richardson while he serves his four-game suspension, Coples will have to try to transition into the linebacker position for the third consecutive season.
One thing Coples is very good at is tackling. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Coples ranked number one in tackling efficiency at outside linebacker. Coples very rarely lets a running back get past him and is known for delivering some skull-crushing hits to opposing quarterbacks.
Dec 8, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterbackMatt McGloin
(14) is thrown to the ground by New York Jets defensive end Quinton Coples (98) after attempting a pass during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
I think out of all the defensive players currently on the team, Coples could benefit the most from the arrival of new head coach Todd Bowles. Bowles is known for playing to the strengths of his players and if he can figure out how to use Coples more inside and design some special blitz packages for the young linebacker, he will have a big 2015 season.
This is a do or die year for Coples, his contract has been extended through 2016 but that money is only guaranteed for injury, which means the Jets can release him after the season if they don’t like his progression. I think he will show enough to stick around till next season, but if Coples desires a second NFL contract and a long-term one at that, he must unleash his inner beast.
No more talking, show your coaches, teammates and fans why you were a first overall selection in 2012. The clock is ticking for Coples since his time in the big apple could be coming to an end if he doesn’t prove his worth this time around.
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